Jon Trasamar, college teammate who inspired Erik van Rooyen, passes away

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Jon Trasamar, college teammate who inspired Erik van Rooyen, passes away

    Written by Paul Hodowanic @PaulHodowanic

    Jon Trasamar, the collegiate teammate of Erik van Rooyen who inspired the South African to his recent victory at the World Wide Technology Championship, died Saturday of Stage 4 melanoma at age 33.

    Trasamar’s battle was thrust into the spotlight when van Rooyen broke down into tears following his win in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Nov. 5. Van Rooyen entered the week ranked No. 125 in the FedExCup Fall standings, needing to play well over the final three weeks of the season to retain his playing privileges for 2024.

    Van Rooyen and his caddie Alex Gaugert, another former teammate at Minnesota, learned of Trasamar’s worsening condition two days before the start of the World Wide Technology Championship. They remained in the field, battling their emotions throughout the week. Van Rooyen admitted to breaking down in his hotel room on Friday. On Saturday, he said a win would “mean everything.” Then, on Sunday, he shot an incredible 8-under 28 on the back nine, including an eagle on the final hole, en route to a final-round 63 and two-shot victory.

    “Every shot out there today was for him, and when you’re playing for something bigger than winning some silly trophy, it puts things in perspective,” said van Rooyen, who flew with Gaugert from Mexico to visit Trasamar at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

    “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I share the news of Jon's passing,” Allie Trasamar, Jon’s wife, posted to his GoFundMe page on Wednesday. “Over the past few weeks, Jon was surrounded by an outpouring of love as friends and family reached out to him and traveled from all over the country to be with him. The joy he found in those moments with his loved ones are memories I will forever hold close to my heart.

    “Throughout his diagnosis, Jon showed unwavering strength, grace, and humility, confronting any challenges he faced without complaint. He was, and continues to be, an inspiration to many and has left an indelible mark on those who knew him.”

    Trasamar was diagnosed with melanoma in May 2022, shortly after marrying Allie, niece of PGA TOUR Champions golfer Jerry Kelly. Trasamar had the spots removed, but the cancer came back multiple times over the last year, first to his ribs and then to his back, spine and legs, to a story by Ryan French of Monday Q Info.

    Erik van Rooyen's emotional interview after winning World Wide Technology

    “He fought to make it onto the PGA TOUR literally as long as he was able to physically golf,” Ryan Trasamar, Jon’s brother, said in a statement to French.

    Trasamar, a native of Blue Earth, Minnesota, played four years of college golf at the University of Minnesota (2010-14) and was part of the 2014 Big Ten Championship-winning team. Trasamar tied for third as an individual that week. He won five times on the Dakotas Tour. He made eight career starts across the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR Americas from 2015 to 2021.

    Van Rooyen met Trasamar in 2009 at the University of Minnesota. Trasamar and his family were the first to greet van Rooyen at the airport. They were freshman roommates and quickly became friends.

    “Jon was an incredible competitor,” van Rooyen told Golf Channel last week. “He called me and asked me how I was doing, and he would always say, ‘I’m doing great. Things are going well.’ Meanwhile, he’s in pain, and he’s struggling. That’s the type of guy he is. His glass is always half full … just a massive heart, just a spectacular guy.”